26 Yellow Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures (2023)

Table of Contents
Yellow Caterpillar Identification Type of Yellow Caterpillars with Pictures American Dagger Caterpillar (Acronicta americana) Yellow Woolly Bear (Spilosoma virginica) Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii) Sycamore Moth (Acronicta aceris) Yellow Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa maculata) Cloudless Sulfur (Phoebis sennae) Six-Spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) Tasar Silkworm Caterpillar (Antheraea mylitta) Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) Giant Peacock Moth Caterpillar (Saturnia pyri) Yellow Fuzzy Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta) Yellow caterpillar identification White-Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma) Yellow caterpillar identification Silver-Spotted Skipper Caterpillar (Epargyreus clarus) Yellow caterpillar identification Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae) Yellow caterpillar identification Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Caterpillar (Harrisina americana) Yellow caterpillar identification Redhumped Caterpillar (Schizura concinna) Yellow caterpillar identification Large Cabbage White Caterpillar (Pieris brassicae) Yellow caterpillar identification Magpie Moth Caterpillar (Abraxas grossulariata) Yellow caterpillar identification White-Lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar (Hyles lineata) Yellow caterpillar identification Grass Eggar Moth Caterpillar (Lasiocampa trifolii) Yellow caterpillar identification African Death’s-Head Hawkmoth (Acherontia Atropos) Yellow caterpillar identification Marbled Yellow Pearl Moth Caterpillar (Evergestis extimalis) Yellow caterpillar identification Tomato Moth Caterpillar (Lacanobia oleracea) Yellow caterpillar identification Zebra Caterpillar (Melanchra picta) Yellow caterpillar identification Mullein Moth Caterpillar (Cucullia verbasci) Yellow caterpillar identification Buff-Tip Moth Caterpillar (Phalera bucephala) Yellow caterpillar identification Read Next FAQs Videos

Yellow caterpillars are larvae that turn to stunning moths or butterflies. Some types of yellow caterpillars are fuzzy-looking and others have smooth segmented bodies typical of many species of caterpillars. Sometimes, yellow fuzzy caterpillars can be poisonous. Although they are not toxic enough to kill you, touching them can cause skin irritation.

All types of yellow caterpillars, as with all caterpillar species, belong to the order of insects called Lepidoptera. They generally look like fat slugs or worms, although some caterpillars have exotic spiky bodies. Caterpillars have a huge appetite and they eat through a lot of vegetation before they enter the pupal stage. After that, the insects reach their final stage and emerge as moths or butterflies.

When looking at pictures to identify caterpillars, it is good to remember that caterpillars go through 4 or 5 growth stages. So, an immature caterpillar may look completely different from one before it becomes a pupa.

Because caterpillars can’t defend themselves, they have various defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. Bright yellow and black caterpillars can appear unappetizing to other animals. Spiny bristles on some yellow caterpillars have venom that can cause irritation. Green caterpillars use camouflage to hide from birds and other animals.

In this article, you will learn about the most common types of yellow caterpillars. Along with pictures of caterpillars, descriptions and their scientific name will help identify species of yellow caterpillars.

Yellow Caterpillar Identification

It is easy to identify species of yellow caterpillars due to their yellowish coloring. Some fuzzy caterpillars are yellow due to the color of their spiny hairs (called setae). Other yellow caterpillars have yellow and black markings making them look like types of striped caterpillars.

Interestingly, from all the different species of caterpillars, most yellow caterpillars have spikes or hairs making them look furry. You may also notice that some fuzzy yellow caterpillars have large horns at either end of their bodies. It’s good to remember that most hairy yellow caterpillars can sting because of their urticating hairs.

Type of Yellow Caterpillars with Pictures

Let’s look in more detail at the many different types of caterpillars that have yellow bodies or yellow hairs.

American Dagger Caterpillar (Acronicta americana)

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The American dagger caterpillar can be identified by its distinct yellow-whitish hairy look

Although the American dagger caterpillar looks cute and fuzzy, its body is covered with yellow urticating hairs. This caterpillar is identified by tufts of bristly yellow hairs, a shiny oval black head, and long black pencil hairs sticking up from its body. As the larvae mature, their fuzzy yellow color turns to pale yellow or white.

These yellow caterpillars with black spikes grow to about 2” (5 cm) long.

The American dagger moth caterpillar doesn’t sting like a wasp. The irritating hairs break off in the skin where they can cause hives, welts, or dermatitis. So, to avoid getting “stung,” you shouldn’t pick up these fuzzy yellow caterpillars.

These caterpillars appear between July and October and live in deciduous forests and woodlands. They love to gorge on the leaves of maples, birch, hickory, oaks, and elms.

When these spiky yellow caterpillars become adults, they are a brown species of moth. These flying insects have a wingspan of up to 2.6” (6.5 cm) and have white, tan, and dark brown markings on their wings.

Yellow caterpillar identification

These North American caterpillars are easy to identify due to their fuzzy yellow appearance, black spikes, and glossy round head.

Yellow Woolly Bear (Spilosoma virginica)

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The yellow woolly bear is a common type of furry caterpillar

Yellow wooly bear caterpillars are another type of fluffy-looking caterpillar that also has long thin spiky hairs. Although this species has the common name of yellow woolly bear, the fuzzy colors can range from white to yellow to reddish-brown. Yellow woollies are the most common type of fuzzy yellow caterpillar in North America.

You can identify these caterpillars by their short bristles together with extra-long hairs. The most striking example of these caterpillars is the kind that is black and yellow with long pencil hairs. These crawling furry caterpillars can grow up to 2” (5 cm) and are generally found on low-growing plants.

Woolly bear caterpillars are not poisonous insects, but their setae are irritating and can cause dermatitis. You may find them munching their way through carrot, sweet potato, and eggplant leaves. So, if you are trying to get rid of these caterpillars from your garden, make sure and wear protective gloves.

After the yellow furry larvae go through metamorphosis, they turn into the Virginia tiger moth. This is a beautiful species of white moth with a wingspan of between 1.1” and 2” (3 – 5 cm).

Yellow caterpillar identification

You can identify yellow woolly bear caterpillars by their hairy appearance and longer pencil hairs.

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii)

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The pale yellow furry sycamore tussock caterpillar has an unusual pair of spikes on each end

A member of the family of tiger moths, the sycamore tussock caterpillar is a pale-yellow fuzzy caterpillar with orange and white spiky hairs. As their name suggests, these yellow tussock caterpillars are found eating the foliage of sycamore trees. The small caterpillars only grow to about 1” (3 cm) in length.

To help with caterpillar identification, look for a pair of long orange pencil hairs at one end, and a pair of white pencil hairs at the other. You will also notice that its body is covered in light yellowish-white bristles.

As with most kinds of furry caterpillars, their urticating setae can cause skin inflammation when handled. Some medical reports show that exposure to sycamore tussock caterpillars can result in allergic reactions. (1)

After pupation, the sycamore tussock caterpillar emerges as a yellow moth with bluish wings. The sycamore moth has a plump short furry body and a wingspan of 2” (5 cm).

One way to control populations of these hungry caterpillars is to encourage birds to your garden who feed on the moths and larvae.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The identification of this yellow fluffy caterpillar is by the pair of orange spikes at its head end. Also, look for small black dots running the length of its sides as well as long pale-yellow bristles at its feet.

Sycamore Moth (Acronicta aceris)

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The fuzzy sycamore moth caterpillar has orange-yellow hairs and white dots along its body

The sycamore moth caterpillar is a hairy caterpillar that has orange and yellow bristles covering its short body. These insects are mainly found in Europe and the Middle East. The orange-yellow hairs on sycamore caterpillars are arranged in tufts along the length of its body.

The bright coloring of this caterpillar species makes it easy to identify. In addition to the tufts of orange/yellow hairs, there are white dots running down the middle of its back. Sometimes, these can be joined together by a white line. These long-haired yellow or orange caterpillars have black heads.

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If you look at the scientific names, you will see that the sycamore moth is different from the sycamore tussock moth. Sycamore moths are from the family Noctuidae and tussocks are from the moth family Erebidae.

These furry caterpillars turn into small sycamore moths that have gray wings measuring 1.5” (4 cm) across.

Yellow caterpillar identification

Their distinctive appearance of thickly covered long yellow or orange hairs make these caterpillars easy to spot. Commonly found on types of trees such as maples, mulberries, and horse-chestnuts.

Yellow Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa maculata)

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The yellow-spotted tussock caterpillar has a distinctive look with its yellow and black hairs

The yellow-spotted tussock caterpillar is another striking example of a yellow fuzzy caterpillar with black tufts of hair.

Looking at pictures of this spotted caterpillar, it is easy to see how it got its common name. Short tufts of yellow hairs cover its body and there are clumps of jet-black hairs running the length of its back. This gives the furry caterpillar a distinctive spotted appearance.

You will also see longer white pencil hairs sticking out at its feet and also at either end of its body. Other types of tussock moth caterpillars are black and yellow varieties. They have thick clumps of black irritating hairs at both ends and a thick wide yellow band around their middle. The long spiky white hairs from either end just add to its striking appearance.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin say that these yellow caterpillars are found feeding in deciduous woodlands. They gorge on poplar, oak, willow, alder and maple leaves. Their coloration and urticating hairs act as a defense against birds. (2)

After emerging from the chrysalis, yellow spotted caterpillars are a type of tiger moth with elongated wings. The moth has lightly colored brown wings with irregular darker patterns.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The contrast of striking bright yellow hairs and tufts of pitch-black hairs are identifying features of spotted tussock moth caterpillars.

Cloudless Sulfur (Phoebis sennae)

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The bright yellow cloudless sulfur caterpillar has darker bands between its segments

The cloudless sulfur caterpillar is a smooth-bodied yellow caterpillar with no hairs at all. As the larvae grow, they become a deep yellow color with some having a greenish appearance.

You will notice that these yellow caterpillars have green or dark bands in between some of the segments. If you look up closely, you will also see small black dots that are tiny spikes. Indentations running around its body give the appearance of stripes. Because of the lack of hairs, you can also clearly see the prolegs in the middle segments.

The green species of these caterpillars have a yellow line running the length of their bodies. Both the yellow caterpillars and the green caterpillars grow to about 1.8” (4.5 cm) in length.

Although their yellow color makes cloudless sulfur caterpillars stand out, they usually spend their days hiding and sleeping under leaves. They usually come out to feed at night when they gorge their way through leaves on clover and legume plant leaves.

After pupation, cloudless sulfurs turn into large beautiful yellow butterflies.

Yellow caterpillar identification

Bright yellow colors and thin green or dark stripes help identify this nocturnal caterpillar.

Six-Spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)

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The six-spot burnet caterpillar has yellow body with black markings and small spikes

Another yellow caterpillar that looks like a fat slug is the six-spot burnet.

This plump yellow caterpillar goes through various growth stages where it can be pale green with black spots. As it matures, the portly caterpillar has a bright yellow body with black markings. Looking up closely at pictures of the caterpillar, you will also notice tiny fine hairs on its yellow body.

The bright yellow colors contrasting with black spots help to ward off predators that see the caterpillar as easy pickings. If birds do eat this caterpillar, they are in for a nasty surprise as the caterpillar produces poison cyanide that can be lethal.

The common name for this moth comes from the 3 pairs of red spots on the black wings of the adult. This is also a small species of moth with its wingspans being only 1.6” (4 cm) across.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The identification features of the six-spotted burnet caterpillar are its bright yellow body, black markings along its back, a light green stripe on its sides and thin spiny hairs.

Tasar Silkworm Caterpillar (Antheraea mylitta)

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The tasar silkworm caterpillar has plump yellow body with short fine hairs

The tasar silkworm caterpillar is native to India and is also yellow in some of its growth stages.

This is a wild type of silkworm that produces high-quality durable silk. According to studies on the silk, these caterpillars produce stronger silk than the domestic silkworm (Bombyx mori) produces. (3)

What does this yellow species of this caterpillar look like? Its body is fat and plump and the segmented sections are clearly seen. There are short fine white hairs covering the body and you will notice white and red dots around the segments.

After the fat caterpillar emerges from its metamorphosis, it is a stunning type of moth. The silkworm moth has orange or brown wings with a white eye-like dot on each wing.

Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda)

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The pale tussock caterpillar has yellow tufts of hairs and black bands on its body

The common identifying feature of most tussock caterpillars is their fuzzy appearance.

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The pale tussock has clumps of lemon-yellow and white hairs covering its body. The tufts of yellow hairs are on the back and white ones on the lower parts above the feet. This species of tussock is identified by the 4 thick tufts of bright yellow hairs on its back segments.

You can often find hairy pale-yellow tussock caterpillars munching their way through willow, birch, and oak leaves.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The main identifying feature of the pale tussock is clumps of bright yellow hairs. There are also black bands separating the yellow segments and red or brown fine hairs near the end section.

Giant Peacock Moth Caterpillar (Saturnia pyri)

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The giant peacock caterpillar has golden yellow body with blue dots containing stinging spikes

One of the most unusual crawling insects on this list of yellow caterpillars is the giant peacock species. Both the caterpillar and moth are huge insects.

Like many caterpillars, giant peacocks go through a number of growth stages where they change color. After hatching from eggs, the larvae are dark, almost black in color. In time they change to a dark yellow color before turning golden green. You will notice light blue dots called tubercles around the segments. Each tubercle has tiny stinging spikes that cause a lot of skin irritation.

Before they turn into pupas, these large caterpillars grow to nearly 5” (12 cm). When they emerge as brown moths, they are the biggest species of moth in Europe. Their wingspan is a massive 6” to 8” (15 – 20 cm). Their dark gray to brown wings have large eye markings to help confuse predators.

Yellow caterpillar identification

A large golden-green caterpillar with darker orange bands around the middle of the segments and turquoise-blue tubercles and tiny irritating hairs.

Yellow Fuzzy Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta)

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The fuzzy spotted apatelodes caterpillar starts as a furry white caterpillar and turns into bright yellow caterpillar

The spotted apatelodes is a hairy, brightly-colored yellow caterpillar covered in wispy hairs. This neon yellow crawling insect also has distinctive black lashes projecting from its head and tail end. Pictures of this hair-covered caterpillar show a black underside, a black line along its back, and black chevrons along its yellow body. It also has bright red prolegs.

The yellow spotted apatelodes measures 1.77” (45 mm) long. You will often find the fuzzy moth larvae feeding on oak, maple, and ash tree leaves. And their bright yellow color and furry appearance make them easy to spot on leaves.

As with many species of caterpillar, the spotted apatelodes undergoes several growth stages. The young, immature caterpillars have long, fine hairs and are entirely white with pinkish legs. As the bugs mature, they develop more vibrant coloring until they are neon yellow.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The spotted apatelodes moth caterpillar is a bright yellow hairy caterpillar with a thin black stripe on its back, black spots along its sides, and tufts of black hair at either end.

White-Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma)

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The furry white-marked tussock caterpillar is easily identified by its unique look with 4 tufts of pale yellow hairs

The white-marked tussock caterpillar is a brightly colored insect with yellow stripes along its black body. Unusual features of this caterpillar are its four toothbrush-like tufts of yellowish hairs, bright red spots, and long pencil hairs protruding from either end. In addition, tufts of long setae stick out along the caterpillar’s body.

This yellow and black caterpillar grows 1.37” (35 mm) long. Larvae of the white-marked tussock moth feed on a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. You will find the light-colored caterpillars on maple, birch, basswood, sycamore, apple, and elm trees. And the destructive pests skeletonize leaves and can defoliate entire trees.

This hairy yellow caterpillar is commonly found in the eastern United States and as far west as Texas. A native Texas caterpillar is the subspecies Orgyia leucostigma.

It’s also noted that this is a yellow stinging caterpillar, and the urticating hairs can cause allergic skin reactions.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The easy-to-recognize white-marked tussock moth caterpillar has four dense tufts of pale-yellow hairs on its back and bright yellow stripes along its body.

Silver-Spotted Skipper Caterpillar (Epargyreus clarus)

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The silver-spotted skipper is a yellow-green caterpillar with brown rounded head and two orange eyespots

The silver-spotted skipper butterfly larva is a yellowish-green caterpillar with a reddish-brown globular head and two conspicuous yellow or orange eyespots. Identifying features of this yellow slug-like bug are thin dark lines traversing its body and four pairs of orange prolegs. The bright yellow caterpillar grows 2” (50 mm) in length.

The stout yellow caterpillars feed on various legume plants in the pea family Fabaceae, black locust trees, and wisteria plants. The yellowish caterpillars are poisonous to other insects, birds, and small animals that try to eat them. They produce a bitter-tasting, greenish liquid when disturbed.

Yellow caterpillar identification

Identifying features of the yellow silver-spotted skipper caterpillar is its plump yellowish-green body with thin stripes and dots around its segments. In addition, it has a conspicuous round red-brown head capsule and two big orange spots.

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae)

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The cinnabar moth caterpillar has yellow and black stripes with fine hairs on its body

The cinnabar moth larva is a striking yellow caterpillar with glossy black bands traversing its segments. This yellow and black striped larva also has a sparse covering of fine spines. Some species of these caterpillars can be orange and black. The cinnabar caterpillar grows up to 1.2” (30 mm) long.

The cinnabar moth caterpillar feeds on ragwort plants, and they absorb toxic substances. These make the yellow caterpillars poisonous to most birds, besides cuckoos that eat hairy and toxic caterpillars.

After emerging from the pupa, the yellow and black larva turns into a stunning moth with pinkish-red and charcoal-black wings.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The striped yellow and black cinnabar moth caterpillar is easily recognizable due to its vibrant, contrasting colors.

Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Caterpillar (Harrisina americana)

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The grapeleaf skeletonizer caterpillar has yellow body with black dots and small irritating hairs

The grapeleaf skeletonizer larva is a cigar-shaped yellow caterpillar with bands of black spots or stripes around its segments. Pictures of the yellow caterpillar show a row of tufts along its side — these become more prominent as the caterpillar matures. The stout yellow larvae measure up to 0.59” (15 mm) long.

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Although not classed as a dangerous caterpillar, the grapeleaf skeletonizer caterpillar has tufts of irritating hairs. These setae can cause a nasty skin rash lasting several days if you handle the yellow caterpillars.

As their name suggests, the grapeleaf skeletonizer caterpillar feeds on grape plants and can completely defoliate them. The yellow and black caterpillars are usually found underneath the leaves, so they are hard to notice before you spot the foliage damage.

A unique feature of the black spotted yellow caterpillars is that they are the only species that target grape plants.

Yellow caterpillar identification

To identify the grape leaf skeletonizer, look for its bright yellow body and bands of black spots around each of its segments.

Redhumped Caterpillar (Schizura concinna)

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The attractive-looking redhumped caterpillar has yellow, black and white striped body with red head

Redhumped caterpillars have yellow bodies with black and white longitudinal stripes and bands of black fleshy spines around their segments. As the caterpillar matures, its black head becomes bright red, developing characteristic red bumps on its third segment. The redhumped caterpillar grows 1” to 1.5” (25 – 38 mm) long.

Redhumped caterpillars skeletonize foliage on trees such as walnut, willow, cottonwood, and various species of fruit trees. The striped, yellow caterpillars are active in April and May. However, a second generation can appear in mid-summer.

After pupating, the redhumped caterpillar turns into a brown moth that has reddish and white patterns on its wings.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The yellow redhumped caterpillar can be identified by its black and white bands running the length of its body, black fleshy spines, a red head, and conspicuous red humps near its head.

Large Cabbage White Caterpillar (Pieris brassicae)

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The large cabbage white caterpillar has a yellow body covered in black spots and fine hairs

The large cabbage white larva is a dark yellow caterpillar covered in black spots, fine setae, and black tubercles. The caterpillar starts life pale yellow with a distinctive brown head. It then becomes a darker yellow during the following instars. It then turns a grayish green and black before pupating.

The yellow and black cabbage butterfly caterpillar grows up to 1.57” (40 mm) long by its final growth stage. During this time, the yellowish-green caterpillars cause significant damage to cabbage and other plants in the genus Brassica. In some cases, the destructive pests can cause complete loss of crops.

Also called cabbage worms, the long slug-like pests turn into spectacular white butterflies. These attractive flying insects have white wings with brown margins and two brown spots on each forewing.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The large cabbage white butterfly caterpillar is identified by its yellowish-green body, irregular black spots, black head, and covering of white spiny setae.

Magpie Moth Caterpillar (Abraxas grossulariata)

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The magpie moth caterpillar can be identified by its pale yellow body, black spots and orange stripe on its sides

The magpie moth larva is a pale-yellow caterpillar with an orange stripe along its sides and a band of black spots along its body. Up close, pictures of this yellow and black caterpillar show fine setae on its body along with white markings, a black head, and black prolegs.

The magpie moth caterpillar is long and slender and grows up to 1.18” (30 mm). This distinctive creamy-yellow insect has a looping action like a cabbage looper as it moves along plant stems and foliage.

The black-spotted, pale-yellow caterpillar is active in April and May. You will find the looping caterpillar on many deciduous trees, including hawthorn, hazel, and blackthorn, as well as various blackcurrant and redcurrant shrubs.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The striking magpie moth caterpillar is identified by its creamy yellowish-white body, rows of black and white dots in irregular patterns, and orange stripes along its sides.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar (Hyles lineata)

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The white-lined sphinx caterpillar has many color variations depending on its growth stage, and can have a yellow body with black stripes lengthwise

The white-lined sphinx moth larva is an unusual caterpillar because there is wide color variation. The species with yellow variation is a sizable slug-like insect with a yellowish-green to dark yellow body and two prominent lengthwise black stripes. The yellow caterpillars also have brown spots along their sides, a brown head, and a conspicuous orange tail.

The huge cylindrical yellow caterpillars can grow up to 3.5” (88 mm) long. In some climates, the caterpillars can be lime green with an orange or black tail spike. In other places, the sizable larvae can be dark green with black and white spots.

The yellowish striped caterpillars feed on plants like tomato, apple tree foliage, elm, willow weed, purslane, and fuchsia. After pupating, the caterpillars turn into beautiful brown and pink moths —one of North America’s most abundant species of hawk moth.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar is identified by a yellowish-green slender body, black stripes along its back, an orange or pale brown tail, and brown and black markings along its sides.

Grass Eggar Moth Caterpillar (Lasiocampa trifolii)

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The long black body of the grass eggar moth caterpillar is covered with furry coat of yellow-orange hairs

The grass eggar moth larva is a black caterpillar that appears orange-yellow due to its heavy coating of pale-yellow to orange-brown hairs. The long, slender, hairy caterpillar has varying color combinations. Some species are bright yellow and black, whereas others appear to have yellowish hairs on their sides and an orange band along their backs.

The large hairy caterpillar grows up to 2.55” (65 mm) long and is full size by mid-June. You will find the caterpillars feeding on the leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs, like oak, beech, and willow. But, as its name suggests, it also feeds on various types of grasses.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The grass eggar caterpillar is identified by its dense covering of fine hairs on its black body. However, it can be tricky to identify as not all species have bright yellow or dull yellow hairs, which some Lasiocampa trifolii caterpillars show.

African Death’s-Head Hawkmoth (Acherontia Atropos)

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The huge African death’s-head hawkmoth caterpillar has a bright yellow body with diagonal gray stripes and black dots

The African death’s-head hawkmoth larva is a giant bright yellow caterpillar that looks like a yellow tobacco hornworm. The golden yellow caterpillar has distinctive diagonal grayish stripes along its sides, a prominent spot at the base of each segment, black speckles covering its back, and six tiny legs at its head.

A distinctive feature of this yellow hawkmoth caterpillar is its posterior horn covered in tiny projections. On some caterpillars, the horn curls round and points upward.

The smooth, glossy, yellow caterpillar grows to 6” (150 mm) long. It is harmless to humans, apart from the damage it can do to plants. Host plants of this large, stout yellow caterpillar include potato and other plants in the nightshade family, lantana, olive trees, and hemp plants.

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After pupating, the enormous yellow larva turns into a stunning brown and yellow moth. It gets its name from the skull-shaped pattern near the moth’s head.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The African death’s-head hawkmoth is easy to identify due to its bright enormous yellow body, diagonal grayish stripes and spotted back.

Marbled Yellow Pearl Moth Caterpillar (Evergestis extimalis)

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The marbled yellow pearl moth caterpillar has a yellow, white and gray striped body with black dots

The larva of the marbled yellow pearl moth is a brightly colored yellow caterpillar with rows of black dots along its back. This striped caterpillar can have pale gray, white, and orange stripes running lengthwise on its body. The colorful caterpillar also has fine black spiny hairs and a rounded head.

The marbled yellow pearl caterpillars tend to feed on cruciferous plants in the family Brassicaceae. After pupating, the striped yellow caterpillar turns into an attractive moth with pale whitish-gray and brown wings with several brown dots and pale orange markings.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The marbled yellow pearl moth caterpillar is a colorful yellow caterpillar, identified by its orange, pale gray, and white longitudinal stripes and lines of black dots.

Tomato Moth Caterpillar (Lacanobia oleracea)

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The tomato moth caterpillar has several variations, among them a pale yellow body covered with faint darker lines and black and white spots

Some tomato moth caterpillars appear as pale-yellow slug-like insects with faint tan stripes and black and white dots. However, the caterpillars can develop shades of brown, with the lightest varieties appearing as light yellow to tan. However, some species can be deep brown with a conspicuous yellow stripe along their sides.

Also called the bright-line brown-eye moth, a distinctive feature of the plump caterpillars is the sprinkling of brown to black specks. In the darker varieties, these tiny dots appear white.

Tomato moth caterpillars grow up to 1.57” (40 mm) long. They are not considered pests because they typically feed on garden weeds like dandelion, plantain, dock, and water mint. However, they can become a pest in greenhouses where they like to feed on tomato plants and fruit.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The tomato moth caterpillar is identified by its cylindrical body in various shades of brown — from yellowish-tan to dark greenish-brown. Its identifying features are small black and white dots and darker faint lines running along its body.

Zebra Caterpillar (Melanchra picta)

26 Yellow Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures (24)

The black and yellow striped zebra caterpillar can be identified by its reddish-brown head

The zebra caterpillar is a striking caterpillar due to its bands of yellow and black running lengthwise. The zebra-like patterns create a distinctive appearance with solid black lines along its side. Additionally, the zebra caterpillar has a rounded reddish-brown head and underside. This unusual caterpillar grows 1.4” to 1.6” (35 – 40 mm) long.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The zebra caterpillar is easy to identify due to its conspicuous bright yellow zebra-like markings and black bands along its back and sides.

Mullein Moth Caterpillar (Cucullia verbasci)

26 Yellow Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures (25)

The beautiful mullein moth caterpillar is identified by its white or pale green body with black and yellow spots

The larva of the mullein moth is a pale gray caterpillar with a distinctive pattern of yellow and black spots. The yellow patterning is so pronounced with some species that the larva appears more yellow than bluish-gray. Other features of this colorful caterpillar are its black head, prolegs, front legs, and fine setae.

The mullein moth caterpillar grows 1.73” to 1.88” (44 – 48 mm) long and has a slender cylindrical shape.

Yellow caterpillar identification

The mullein moth caterpillar is easily identifiable due to its eye-catching yellow and black markings on a pale blue to gray body.

Buff-Tip Moth Caterpillar (Phalera bucephala)

26 Yellow Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures (26)

The black body of the buff-tip moth caterpillar has yellow stripes and orange patches and is covered with fine hairs

The buff-tip moth caterpillar is a slender, fuzzy slug-like insect with yellow and black patterns and fine hairs covering its body. The striped patterns on this distinctive caterpillar are yellow or orange bands traversing a black body. However, there are also thin yellow lines running lengthwise. The buff-tip caterpillar grows up to 1.96” (50 mm) long.

Yellow caterpillar identification

Identifying features of the buff-tip caterpillar are its yellow stripes creating black rectangular shapes, fine hairs, and a black head with an orange V-shape.

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(Video) Top 10 WEIRD CATERPILLARS You've Never Heard Of!!!


What are the yellow caterpillars that are poisonous? ›

The American dagger moth caterpillars are poisonous to humans and pets, although more dangerous for humans, especially children, who can pick them up while playing at a park. Symptoms of getting stung by a dagger moth caterpillar include: A stinging sensation. Skin irritation.

What is a bright yellow caterpillar? ›

This bright yellow caterpillar is a Santa Ana tussock moth, according to the Picture Insect app. The adult moth is not as striking in color.

What are the big fuzzy yellow caterpillars? ›

Dagger moth caterpillars are fuzzy with medium length yellow, yellowgreen, or even white setae. They also have four, elegant, slender, black "pencils" of setae that extend out from the first and third abdominal segments. A fifth pencil of black bristles extends near the rear of the caterpillar.

What are the yellow caterpillars with spikes? ›

The American Dagger Moth caterpillar is a beautiful yellow caterpillar with long black hairs sticking out.

Can you touch yellow caterpillars? ›

It is not poisonous, but it can cause skin irritation if it comes into contact with your skin. The majority of caterpillars, such as black and yellow ones, do not harm humans or animals. In addition to black swallowtail, redwinged and datana ministra caterpillars, there are no venomous or poison-causing parasites.

Are yellow swallowtail caterpillars poisonous? ›

Both the caterpillar and the adult are poisonous. The caterpillars of the Pipevine Swallowtail feed on the poisonous host plant, Aristolochia, also known as the pipevine, Dutchman's pipe or birthwort. It contains the lethal toxin aristolochic acid. Nevertheless, the black caterpillars turn into beautiful adults.

What is the name of the yellow caterpillar? ›

Spilosoma virginica is a species of moth in the subfamily Arctiinae. As a caterpillar, it is known as the yellow woolly bear or yellow bear caterpillar. As an adult, it is known as the Virginian tiger moth.

What is a yellow caterpillar that looks like it has eyes? ›

Yellow Caterpillar with Black Eyes (or Eyespots) - All About Worms. We are reasonably confident our reader found a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar, one of the hundreds of species of Swallowtail caterpillars.

What type of caterpillar is this? ›

Are yellow woolly bear caterpillars harmful? ›

No, they are harmless except in rare cases when someone has an acute allergy to their hair. Some caterpillars have venom-filled hairs, which can be painful to humans, but woolly bears are as cute in your hand as they are on the ground.

Are yellow woolly bear caterpillars bad for the garden? ›


The larval stage of the woollybear will eat most any plant grown in the garden as well as many species of ground cover found in most any landscape. Feeding larvae will ravish leaves putting stress on host plants.

How do you get rid of yellow fuzzy caterpillars? ›

Neem oil is a natural insecticide used to kill caterpillars, tomato worms, cabbage worms, and other garden pests, and it does so within a few hours. Dilute two ounces of neem oil per one gallon of water, and spray it directly onto caterpillars and/or plants.

What is assassin caterpillar? ›

Lonomia Obliqua, also known as the Assassin Caterpillar, is one of the deadly poisonous caterpillars that can actually kill a human. In fact, it's the deadliest caterpillar in the world. A few stings from this bug can cause deadly internal bleeding that can make your brain and organs shut down.

What caterpillar is yellow with black spots? ›

The Grapeleaf Skeletonizer is completely yellow with small black dots along each section of its body. These caterpillars munch on grapevine leaves, which is how they got their name.

What does a saddleback caterpillar look like? ›

The larva (caterpillar) is primarily green with brown at both ends and a prominent white-ringed brown dot in the center which resembles a saddle. It has a pair of fleshy horns at both ends. These and most of the rest of the body bear urticating hairs that secrete an irritating venom.

How do I know if a caterpillar is poisonous? ›

As a general rule, brightly-colored caterpillars with spines, bristles, or a fuzzy appearance might be venomous and should not be touched.

Are yellow caterpillars with spikes poisonous? ›

These cute caterpillars may seem harmless, but they are indeed poisonous. DO NOT PICK THEM UP! Both children and adults can be affected by them. Symptoms include the following: stinging sensation followed by a burning, itching sensation on the skin which can develop into a rash.

Is a yellow caterpillar with black spines poisonous? ›

Yellow Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar

They're black on either end with a wide yellow band across their midsection. They also have thin white hairs that shoot out from either end. These caterpillars aren't toxic. However, they can sting you with their furs.


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